Saturday, January 14, 2012

Iraq: 53 Shi'ite pilgrims murdered by their coreligionists

It was initially claimed that it was a roadside IED that caused the blast, however further investigation has "...witnesses at the scene described the perpetrator as a suicide bomber disguised as a volunteer handing out juice and food to pilgrims."

Nothing says peace and tolerance like pretending you care about others.  And for this, 53 are dead.

This is Islam.

From ABC News January 14 by Adam Schreck and Nabil Al-Jurani 

Bomb Kills at Least 53 Pilgrims in South Iraq

A bomb tore through a procession of Shiite pilgrims heading toward a largely Sunni town in southern Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 53 people in the latest sign of a power struggle between rival Muslim sects that has escalated since the American military withdrawal.

Fears of more bloodshed have risen in recent weeks, with the U.S. no longer enjoying the leverage it once had to encourage the two sides to work together to rein in extremists. Most of the latest attacks appear to be aimed at Iraq's majority Shiites, suggesting Sunni insurgents seeking to undermine the Shiite-dominated government are to blame.

And yet, in the face of this 1400 year schism between the two major sects of Islam, we still believe a compromise could be worked out.

Saturday's blast happened on the last of the 40 days of Arbaeen, when hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims travel to the Iraqi city of Karbala and other holy sites. The end of Arbaeen is one of the most sacred times for Shiites, and public processions to commemorate it were banned under Saddam Hussein.

The blast occurred near the town of Zubair as pilgrims marched from the nearby port city of Basra toward the Imam Ali shrine on the outskirts of the town, said Ayad al-Emarah, a spokesman for the governor of Basra province.

The shrine is an enclave within an enclave — a Shiite site on the edge of a predominantly Sunni town in an otherwise mostly Shiite province.

There were conflicting reports of what caused the blast, with some officials saying a roadside bomb was to blame.

But witnesses at the scene described the perpetrator as a suicide bomber disguised as a volunteer handing out juice and food to pilgrims. Ali Ghanim al-Maliki, the head of the Basra provincial council, corroborated that account in an interview with Iraqiya state television.

Arbaeen marks the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite figure who is the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

Pilgrims who cannot make it to Imam Hussein's grave in the holy city of Karbala, south of Baghdad, often journey to other sacred sites such as the shrine near Zubair.

"I saw several dead bodies and wounded people, including children on the ground asking for help. There were also some baby strollers left behind at the blast site," said Majid Hussein, a government employee, who was one of the pilgrims heading to the shrine.

At least 53 people were killed and more than 130 wounded in the blast, said Dr. Riyadh Abdul-Amir, the head of Basra Health Directorate.

The U.S. Embassy strongly condemned the attack, saying such acts of violence "tear at the fabric of Iraqi unity."

Iraqi unity.  It is to laugh.

Read it all

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